President's Message

Original article appears in GuideStar May, 2015.

by Rene Gedaly

We hope you’ve been enjoying our monthly meetings, both the novice sessions and the speakers at the general membership meetings. Longtime members will notice our meeting arrangements have changed a bit. We’ve found that meeting in the same room for both meetings helps streamline set up and allows the best sound system for all presenters. John Haynes conducts his site orientation class in the room across the hall at the same time as the novice session. To gain access to the dark site, you’ll need to take his informative orientation in person but I understand an online version is in the works.

The update this month includes a little of everything. Check the website for other events, too.

Texas Star Party. Are you going this year? Steve Goldberg has e-mailed Netslyder subscribers some especially good info about what to bring, how to set up on the field and where. If you don’t still have that e-mail, the forums also have good info as does the TSP website: www.texasstarparty.org. If it’s your first time, a word of warning: No way can you adequately prepare for your first view of a clear West Texas sky at night. I spent the better part of a day setting up scopes, table, and accessories only to spend my entire first night in a lounge chair, scanning the sky naked eye trying to figure out where old familiar guideposts were hiding. If you’ve already been to a few TSPs, though, consider lending a hand. Scott Mitchell has been taking names of volunteers at the general meetings so flag him down and see what needs doing. Scott is on the Texas Star Party board of directors and is one of three on its operations committee. Scott coordinates everything that happens at the meeting hall: registration, afternoon talks, and evening speakers.

Audit Committee. HAS is run by an army of volunteers, too. Here again we find Scott. You may have seen him recently filling in at the badge table or setting up a rather rickety easel to help direct meeting traffic. Scott is a past president of HAS and chairs the Audit committee. In addition to examining the financial records maintained by the treasurer, Scott also looks over all manner of legal papers and agreements for HAS and has been particularly busy lately. We couldn't do without you, Scott. Thanks.

Urban Observing. It’s been a tough month for observing, April showers and all. Earlier in the year, though, the website forums and the Netslyder e-mail list were lit up with news of when and where individual members were going to observe that night. One member in particular seemed to be coordinating the effort: Steve Munsey. The board took notice and asked if he’d like to make it official by chairing the Urban Observing committee. Steve has agreed to give it a try and will continue just as he’s been doing, serving as a contact person for impromptu observing get togethers at George Bush park when good skies allow. Steve’s posted an annotated map of the location on the Space Station V forum, topic West Houston Observing. Watch for his notices through the usual channels. His contact info appears on page 2 of the GuideStar.

Observatory. Every time I get ready to share some breaking news about the observatory, I find Mike Edstrom has already moved on to the next big thing. In his April Observatory Corner, Mike unveiled the latest plans for the build out of the West field with 12 private observatory sites, and for seven, he has signed agreements in hand. What may come as news to you is that the committee has already completed trenching the field to install electrical wiring to all 12 plots. I guess I’ll have to wait until the board meeting to see what’s up next at the observatory. Or maybe Mike has already tipped his hand in this month’s Observatory Corner.

Board Meeting. Speaking of board meetings, the next one is Tuesday, May 26, at the Houston Arboretum. Check the website event calendar Doug McCormick updates for details. With any luck, we’ll be welcoming a newly elected director to the leadership team. We’ll also be developing a mission statement and working on an overall strategy for the society. Heady stuff and something Don Selle will be facilitating at a workshop during the second hour of the board meeting. Your input will be solicited so keep watching this space and the other HAS communication channels.

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